5. Perform Omnichannel Journey Testing
Customer journeys are now omnichannel journeys and channel transitions are common points of CX failures. Don’t just test the IVR, test the whole journey including the context passing between channels. If customers tend to start on the web, go to the IVR, and then go to a live agent, test the whole chain.
Even if your team only owns the IVR code, end-to-end customer journey testing is your responsibility. Create an omnichannel test plan with test scripts. Determine how to have the other channels participate in the testing using a black box or other method. Omnichannel journey testing requires a more extensive environment so all the channels can be tested.
6. Use Design to Drive Your Tests
In a typical software development lifecycle, the developers write all the code, and when it is complete, they hand it over to the QA testers. In the world of CX, we do not want to wait until that code is complete. Instead, use a design-driven testing approach. Once the business analyst or VUI designer provides a roadmap and design of what the IVR should do, create tests from the design. Then, when the design and code are complete, you are already set to test. This level of preparation has the added effect of finding bugs in the design and code — where they are much easier to fix.
7. Democratize Testing
It’s good for developers to write test cases and not just leave the job to a QA team. Writing test cases requires taking a customer’s perspective which will lead to better design, better code, and better tests.
As an example, one company used to have one half of the development team write test cases and at the same time have one half write the code for a portion of the project. Then they flipped the teams for a different part of the project. This enabled two different minds to be looking at the design specifications and user scenarios from a coding and testing perspective early in the cycle. It enabled test cases to be written at the same time as the code which created a feedback loop to identify issues early.
8. Stay Close to the Production Environment
Mimic your production environment so you can perform an “apples to apples” testing. To do this, build your staging environment with software applications, operating system, hardware, and network configuration to simulate the production environment. A real DevOps shop will build each testing environment using the same tools used to build out production environments. If your test or staging environments are not representative of the real production environment, bugs can get through to production or you may spend time fixing problems that can never occur in production.
9. Simulate Customer Account Data
It is important to test with customer data that represents the most frequent scenarios. Create simulation data from live data so that you have 100% control of the data and that the data is not changing on you. But make sure that the data represents a large portion of customer activity and gives you a cross section of all the customer types and situations that happen in real life. As a rule of thumb, build your test cases based on what the customer experiences should be, then find the test data to fit those test cases (versus the other way around).
10. Perform Reliability Testing
Make sure that the system performs 24/7, all the time (e.g., while the backup is running and during shift changes). Create monitoring tests that provide ongoing vigilance to catch any reliability issues. Write monitoring tests early in the process. Start running the monitoring scripts at least a day before you go live and continue to run them every few minutes, around the clock.
11. Share Knowledge Extensively
It is crucial that everyone involved with development have access to the code, test cases, and all the information on the project. Create a central hub to share information. Then QA testers (whether QA test or contractors), project managers, and management can obtain the latest information, testing status builds, and documentation.
12. Choose an Easy-to-Use, Integrated Testing Suite
Companies usually have to decide between using best-of-breed technologies or an integrated suite. For IVR testing, the best solution is an integrated suite that works enterprise-wide and can work across all channels. An integrated suite will enable functional tests to be leveraged across regression, load, and monitoring tests.
Because overall team productivity is so vital in today’s world, choose an IVR automation testing tool that is easy to use. Between QA testing staff and contractors, your testing team changes all the time. You want to have a tool that is easy enough that new team members can learn it quickly so you do not have a knowledge gap in testing.